Some subscribers to MathEdCC might be interested in a recent post "The Second Greatest Shortcoming of the Human Race" [Hake (2012c)]. The abstract reads:

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ABSTRACT: Among the "Twenty-eight Quotes Relevant to Overpopulation" in my post "L.A. Times Population Report: Beyond 7 Billion - Fighting the Last War?" [Hake (2012b)] at <http://bit.ly/TeOpJj> is one by biologist Joel Cohen from his NYT piece "Seven Billion" [Cohen (2011)] at <http://nyti.ms/SU6gFM>.

Cohen, in a masterful online talk "You are 25 100-Watt Light Bulbs, Burning All Day" at <http://bit.ly/VI86rj> stated that: "If you have 3 people in a room and it gets warm, it's because they're generating 300 watts of heat - it's like having a 300 watt light bulb going on. If you multiply 100 watts by 6.8 billion, the number of people on the planet, you find that the whole power generation of the human species is about 0.68 terrawatts - a terra watt is a lot of watts: there's kilowatts, megawatts, gigawatts, and terrawatts -  so that's a lot!" . . . . .[[i.e., it's 10^3, 10^6, 10^9, and 10^12 watts]]. . . . .

According to Al Bartlett (2004) at  <http://bit.ly/VpN2pm>:

"The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our
inability to understand the exponential function.". . . . . . . . . . . . . . (1)

I would propose a corollary:

"The second greatest shortcoming of the human race is our
inability to understand the meaning of large numbers." . . . . . . . . . .(2)

See e.g. the You Tube video "Powers of Ten" <http://bit.ly/T0UyKM> from the Eames Office.
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To access the complete 10 kB post please click on <http://bit.ly/T0nCk6>.

Richard Hake, Emeritus Professor of Physics, Indiana University
Links to Articles: <http://bit.ly/a6M5y0>
Links to Socratic Dialogue Inducing (SDI) Labs: <http://bit.ly/9nGd3M>